TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP URGES STATE AGs TO ‘COME CLEAN’ ON COST OF MICROSOFT SUIT | Citizens Against Government Waste

TAXPAYER WATCHDOG GROUP URGES STATE AGs TO ‘COME CLEAN’ ON COST OF MICROSOFT SUIT

Press Release

For Immediate Release   Contact:  Jim Campi or Aaron Taylor
September 21, 1999(202) 467-5300

 

Citizens Against Government Waste demands to know why AGs refuse to reveal how much the Microsoft antitrust suit is costing their states' taxpayers.

(Washington, D.C.) – During a Washington, D.C. visit of several state attorneys general (AG) for the “Findings of Fact” phase of the Microsoft antitrust suit, Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) reiterated its demand for a full accounting of the cost of the suit to taxpayers.  In June, CAGW sent a freedom of information act (FOIA) request asking every state pursuing an antitrust case against the Microsoft Corporation to reveal the facts about how much is being spent on the lengthy litigation.  None of the AGs have fully complied to date.

“Each attorney general has an ethical obligation to keep his or her taxpayers informed about the cost of the state’s participation in the suit,” remarked CAGW President Thomas A. Schatz.  “After all, they are the ones who are footing the bill for the government’s Microsoft misadventure.”

Every attorney general’s office signed a joint agreement with the other 18 AGs involved in the suit.  The agreement designates the state of Illinois as administrator of the common costs of the antitrust litigation.  Unfortunately, despite this agreement, most of the 19 state AGs refused to fully comply with CAGW’s FOIA request for a complete accounting of their expenditures.

"These public officials have to come clean about the expense of this suit,” Schatz stated.  “If they really believe this case is in the best interest of their states' residents, they shouldn’t keep them in the dark about its costs.  Attorneys in private practice could not get away with hiding expenses from their clients.”

“State attorneys general have no formal role in today’s courtroom proceedings.  These  AGs are really coming to Washington for a taxpayer-subsidized photo opportunity with fellow AGs and Justice Department officials.”

"I hope the attorneys general are enjoying the nation’s capital," Schatz quipped.  “But I wonder what their constituents would think of this junket to Washington — if they could get the AGs to divulge the cost.”

Citizens Against Government Waste is a 600,000 member nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.

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